A SENIOR MANAGER at Red Hat has warned the community of the importance of ensuring that OpenStack users have sufficient, qualified support for their infrastructure.
Alessandro Perilli, general manager for cloud management strategy at Red Hat, made the point in a blog post this week entitled Beware scary OpenStack support.
"Enterprise-grade support for any open source project, and especially for one as complex as OpenStack, can be articulated through many dimensions. However, they are almost never part of the conversation until too late," he wrote.
Perilli goes on to list six key dimensions that system administrators should be looking for: expertise in the underlying operating system; security response; certification and compliance; code indemnification; vertical consulting; and extended cloud management.
He warned that enterprises are in great danger if they don't stick to well-established Linux distros with experienced knowledge bases.
|When your OpenStack vendor is using a Linux distribution that has been in the market for a very short period (i.e. one year), has no history of contribution to the Linux distribution of choice, and doesn’t even mention its Linux distribution of choice in its marketing materials, this spells scary enterprise support," he said.
It seems like obvious advice, but Perilli pointed to several major organisations that have fallen foul of this, and the results can be devastating because of the numbers involved in rolling out such an infrastructure.
Other potential pitfalls in the list include vendors that "cannot back port and port a security fix to older and newer versions of OpenStack before it’s fixed in the trunk code", "have no experience in the legal implications with open source licensing”, "only support their own hardware", "have a consulting division that consists of four engineers across five continents", "have a cloud management platform that cannot support side by side server virtualization, IaaS, and PaaS across private and public environments" and many more.
OpenStack is as vulnerable to problems as any other, but being open source means that anyone can offer contributions and anyone can offer themselves as a vendor, a consultant and a self-proclaimed expert.
A recent study found that a Red Hat proprietary solution was among the offerings that was still able to undercut an OpenStack rollout. Meanwhile, its Fedora open source operating system has just reached version 22.
Perilli concluded by saying: "Any OpenStack provider claiming to offer enterprise-grade support must excel in every one of those aforementioned dimensions, not just one of them."
In other words, it's not enough to claim to be an OpenStack expert. You have to talk the talk as well as walk the walk. µ
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